A cancer diagnosis is a frightening time for anyone. It can be filled with emotional distress, anxiety and many unanswered questions, as well as physical discomfort and alienation. Family, friends and caregivers may also find that supporting a cancer patient is a challenging time and they may be seeking support services as well.
The Cancer Center offers a variety of services to assist patients and their families to help navigate the challenges that are presented by a cancer diagnosis, cancer survivorship, the risk of inherited cancer and other cancer-related situations. As well, the Cancer Center is connected to several community, cultural and faith-based organizations that enable us to make our comprehensive cancer services more accessible to the community.
Cancer treatment and side effects are often unpleasant and sometimes come with a degree of discomfort and pain. It is our responsibility as health practitioners to provide our cancer patients with every manner of comfort and care as they withstand this journey. Our pain specialists are trained to develop a course of action that is less interventional and most beneficial.
Certain genetic predispositions indicate that an individual is at greater risk of inheriting a particular type of cancer. That does not guarantee that an individual will get cancer, but it does raise the risk factor. As a result, it might guide certain screenings, exams or prophylactic behaviors. The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System offers the Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Unit, for those with a genetic predisposition to cancer of the gastrointestinal (GI) system, and the Familial Breast Cancer Clinic, which helps women who might be at a high risk for breast cancer.
Together with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, the Cancer Center is at the forefront of research in understanding the most successful manners of fertility preservation. This includes embryo, egg and ovarian tissue freezing, dependent on factors of cancer diagnosis. Patients are welcome to come in for a consultation and explore their options.
The University of Illinois Cancer Survivors Clinic was established in 2009, to provide comprehensive evaluations and care to survivors of childhood cancer. These cancers include acute leukemias, brain tumors, lymphoma, sarcoma, neuroblastoma, Wilm's Tumor, retinoblastoma and hepatoblastoma, and can affect people from birth to age 30 or older. There are approximately 270,000 survivors in the US, with at least 7,000 living in the Chicagoland area. According to the Childhood Cancer Survivors Survey, approximately 2/3 of the survivors have at least one chronic health condition with ¼ having three to four, some of which can be very serious. The Children's Oncology Group (COG) has established LONGTERM Follow-Up Guidelines for survivors of childhood cancer, which are available here. The University of Illinois Cancer Survivors Clinic provides a comprehensive evaluation based on these guidelines. For an appointment or more information, call 312-966-6145
Also known as supportive care, palliative care can assist in providing services to make decisions about long-term care, treatment options and prognosis. This may help reduce anxiety in patients and family members, as a plan of care can be established and a team of physician, nurse, social worker and, often, chaplain, are involved in continuing treatment. In addition to providing comfort for the patient, palliative care is also an opportunity to deal with the physical and emotional changes that come with prolonged illness, and to provide an outlet to express this with the patients' best interests at heart.
Pastoral Care Services are available as a service to patients and their families. They are provided on a volunteer basis to meet spiritual needs and to listen, read holy scriptures, pray and provide comfort.